Thank You – This is one of the common words we keep hearing in daily life. It’s common for us to thank someone and be thanked. We say thank you to cab drivers, customer support, clients, strangers, etc. We use the words “thank you” or “thanks” frequently in day to day life, but often, we don’t carry any emotion behind these words. We say these words more out of courtesy and good manners. Gratitude is more than this.
Gratitude is an emotion, and a feeling of appreciation felt deeply for the positive aspects of our life. It is a quality and a state of thankfulness. We can feel grateful for our health, good food we ate, wealth in our life, love of our family members, help received from others, any experiences which make us happy, and so on.
Lord Rama is described as a person with 16 great qualities. One of these 16 qualities is being thankful. He remembered even a small good deed done by others to him and felt grateful. He practiced gratitude towards animals, birds, people of his kingdom, friends, and family members. His life story – Ramayana – teaches us the importance of gratitude in life. Ramayana teaches us that gratitude is a virtue. Apart from gratitude being a virtue, are there any benefits of practicing gratitude? Yes. There are several benefits.
Many of us take our health, wealth, relationships, and other good things we have in life for granted and worry about missing things in our life. We may have good health, a financially comfortable life, loving relationships, and we may lack something like that promotion or a bigger home or the latest model car. Because of our constant focus on what we are missing in life, we worry and get upset. We feel life is unfair.
For example, say super delicious breakfast is served to a person, and he is lost in worry. Can he enjoy the breakfast? No. He eats the breakfast without any kind of joy. Whether it’s a good breakfast or an okay kind of breakfast, it does not make a difference for the person because of his worried state. If this person is full of gratitude towards life and for breakfast served to him, he enjoys every bite and feels greatly satisfied. It’s the same with our lives too.
When we constantly focus on what’s missing in our life, we miss enjoying the blessings present in life. It does not matter what we achieved and what we have. We feel unworthy, depressed, and under-achievers in spite of achieving a lot and having many blessings. The reason for this is our focus. What we are focusing on in life decides whether we enjoy life or not.
When we consciously practice gratitude for the good things we have in life, our focus shifts from lack to abundance. Our focus shifts from being a failure to being a success. Our perspective towards ourselves and our life changes, and our life transforms.
Practicing gratitude does not cost money and does not need extra time. Yet, its benefits are many. Below are the benefits of practicing gratitude.
11 benefits of gratitude:
1. When we regularly practice gratitude in our life, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated in the body, which triggers relaxation. This relaxation improves our health and sleep quality.
2. The environment around us has a great amount of information, and many situations keep happening simultaneously. Our brain cannot take in everything. In order to filter the data, our brain has a region called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). RAS presents to the brain only those situations or data related to the area which we regularly focus on. For example, if someone’s focus is problems in life, RAS presents more problems and makes the person feel life is full of problems. When we practice gratitude, we focus on the blessings in our life, and RAS helps us see more blessings in our life. So, whatever we focus on, we see more of it because of RAS. Regular practice of gratitude makes us perceive a greater number of blessings in life.
3. Gratitude makes us happier.
4. It helps in overcoming depression.
5. It improves self-esteem. When we focus on what we have in life, we feel we accomplished something significant in our lives, and this feeling improves our self-esteem.
6. It reduces stress.
7. It increases life span. Studies have shown that people who are happy and grateful live longer.
8. Be it a home or an office; everyone loves to be acknowledged and thanked for their contribution. Grateful people have better relationships in life because of their attitude of thanking others. Their marriages are happier, and their children flourish better.
9. Grateful people become good leaders because of this trait, and people love working for such leaders because they feel valued.
10. When we feel grateful for all the blessings we have in life, we feel confident and positive that we can achieve more. This inspires us to work on our goals and achieve them.
11. Gratitude improves physical, emotional, mental health.
These are the benefits of practicing gratitude in our daily life. So, how to practice gratitude? Below are some pointers that can help you practice gratitude consciously every day. You can pick one or all of the below pointers and fill your life with gratitude.
10 ways to practice gratitude:
1. Before sleeping, think of five good things in your life and thank God or Universe for these blessings.
2. First thing after waking up, take time to think of five good things in your life and thank God or Universe for these blessings.
3. Every time you eat food or drink water, practice gratitude.
4. Maintain a gratitude journal or a book and write down every day 5 good things in your life.
5. Take a gratitude walk where you go on a nice walk and practice gratitude for all the blessings in your life.
6. Maintain a gratitude ring on your finger which you touch and express gratitude for five good things in your life every day.
7. Express your gratitude to your family members for specific actions. For example, if your family member made a nice meal, you can thank specifically mentioning what you liked about the meal.
8. Write gratitude letters to people who positively impacted your life and tell them the impact they made on you.
9. Every time you receive your salary, thank God or Universe.
10. Every time you do something which makes you feel happy, thank yourself.
These are some ways in which you can practice gratitude in life. Once you start practicing gratitude, you become better and better at it. You become a person full of positivity, love, and light, and you become charming to people around you because a grateful person makes others feel valued and cherished.
Start your gratitude practice right today, and enjoy your life!